Parenting 101: Expectations Aren’t Always A Good Thing

This post is sponsored by ZERO TO THREE, in collaboration with The Motherhood.

Becoming a parent for the first time means you often have expectations on how everything will go. I remember when our eldest was born and how much I thought it was going to get easier with time.

It doesn’t, but you do get accustomed to things over time.

So Many Expectations
We had so many expectations with our eldest when he was born, and we hoped he’d hit so many milestones before he reached a certain age. Little did we know, we were placing stress on ourselves.

According to a recently ZERO TO THREE study, we’re not alone when it comes to the emotional stress we cause ourselves. In fact, 60% of parents told ZERO TO THREE that having enough patience is among the top three improvements they would like to make. Other concerns parents addressed were better control over their emotions (47%),  less likely to yell or raise their voices so quickly (42%), and to not quickly lose their temper with their children (35%).

There are many ways for parents to control their emotions and strengthen their relationship with their children. After all, who likes being yelled at all the time?

Remember How To Breathe

Parenting younger children can be challenging, but one thing my husband and I like to remind ourselves is that our boys are still learning. We expect our children to slowly eat their food and be careful not to make a mess. Whenever they make a mess with their meal or drop something on the floor, it’s just another chance for them to explore the world around them.

Cleaning up after little ones can get exhausting, but it’s also an opportunity to teach them some responsibility, such as cleaning up after themselves.

As noted in the study, “Children need our assistance, not our anger.” That is exactly what we try to do for our boys. During tough times, it’s important to breathe. Giving yourself some time to think about the situation and fully understand what’s going on is better than lashing out at your children. Try it, you might surprise yourself by how much you can control yourself by doing the unexpected.

For parents looking to better manage their emotions, I highly recommend checking out the ZERO TO THREE resources available here. You can even read how other parents have been able to cope with their emotions over here. Parents are also welcomed to join the ZERO TO THREE newsletter for more information and monthly tips, tools, and story-sharing opportunities:

Do you have a parenting story you’d like to share? Submit yours today: 


  1. noonetocompare

    August 31, 2017 at 10:18 PM

    These are great Tips. Being able to breathe and learn patience are u.portant and certainly knowing when to step away if a situation becomes overwhelming. I also add eating sometimes as parents we might just be hangry 😂

  2. Carol Cassara

    September 1, 2017 at 12:18 AM

    I don’t have any kids but I complete understand this one, it makes so much sense. We shouldn’t expect too much from the kids and just allow them to be themselves and discover their strengths on their own. At the end of the day, what we can be is be supportive.

  3. Kristen Campbell

    September 1, 2017 at 11:23 AM

    This is a great post. I quit having expectations after I went into labor early LOL Birth plan went out the window..,along with a ton of expectations!

  4. elizabeth o

    September 1, 2017 at 9:39 PM

    I think all parents need to avail themselves of ZERO TO THREE and any other information and support that will help them cope and find better ways to handle young kids. Yesterday afternoon, a lady with 3 kids was having a nasty melt down in the supermarket, and ended up looking/acting crazier than the kids.

  5. Amrita Basu

    September 2, 2017 at 2:29 AM

    Patience and making my little girl pick up her toys have helped me a lot .Enjoyed the tops here .Breathing does help!

  6. Pri

    September 5, 2017 at 9:27 PM

    I’m not a parent yet, but I agree with not expecting things to go a certain way when it comes to kids.

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